The recently unveiled Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Maui island in Hawaii is the largest solar telescope in the world, and it's starting to deliver on its promise. On Wednesday, the DKIST released this stunning image of the sun's surface, our most detailed look ever at the star.
Here's what you're looking at:
The images show a pattern of turbulent "boiling" plasma that covers the entire sun. The cell-like structures — each about the size of Texas — are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface. That hot solar plasma rises in the bright centers of "cells," cools, then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection.
How zoomed in is the image? Here's the size of the Earth, in comparison:
The DKIST also captured the "cells" in motion: